After 23 years of marriage I returned to the dating scene and realized that nothing had changed. The men were older, but still motivated by the same primal urges, and 40 years and three children later, I was still trying to preserve my virginity.
In my quest to meet men, I went to single's dances, placed my bio with an online dating service, and took out ads in the personals -- all the things I swore I'd never do. Although I listed intelligence, a sense of humor, and sensitivity as qualities I was seeking in a man, I discovered that what I actually wanted was good looks and chemistry -- a distressing reality that caused me to face my shallowness and lose total respect for myself.
I learned that all older men think they're handsome. When they look in the mirror, they see the same high school football star that graduated 50 years earlier. Bald, fat, and hair sprouting from their ears go unnoticed or are viewed as enhancements.
Older women, on the other hand, cower in front of the mirror with only one eye open, barely able to stomach what they see. They spend thousands of dollars a year on makeup, hair dressers, manicurists, personal trainers, black wardrobes and undergarments that restrict natural jiggling. When they return to the mirror they see a well dressed, beautifully coiffed, fat, woman well past her prime.
I met Freddy Online. He was anxious to take it to the next level on our second date but I managed to fight him off. On our fourth date I prepared dinner. Afterward we watched a video. As we sat there, his one arm resting on the back of the couch behind my head, he leaned over and kissed me. While our lips were locked, his free hand began its downward journey from my face to my neck to my shoulders. Anticipating my usual resistance, he hesitated, and when I offered none, he slid his hand down a little farther.
I was ready for him.
"What the hell .......?" Freddy pulled out a piece of paper.
"I don't know," I answered, coyly. "Let's see what it says."
He unfolded the paper. "It says, This is as far as you go, Buster."
He broke into a slow smile that turned into an embarrassed laugh. He didn't make another move for a solid ten minutes.
Next I tried a Singles Dance. I love dancing so I rarely refuse anyone who asks me.
Herbie wore what looked like might have been his overweight father's baggy black sport jacket and navy blue slacks that came to his ankles, revealing brown penny loafers and white socks. His neck swam in the collar of his way-too-large shirt, and his clip-on bow tie was yellow with blue polka dots. He spoke rapidly, in one long sentence without pauses.
"Hi you're pretty my name is Herbie I've been fired but I'm doing telemarketing as a temp with Kelly Girls now I like your black stockings I can't wear black socks" He lifted his leg to show me his white cotton ones, "because I have a fungus would you let me take you to dinner sometime?"
Herbie had not yet completed his Dale Carnegie course.
Dennis was a chemical engineer -- quite intelligent. However, the wide gap between his front teeth caused him to whistle and spit, and although his jaw moved up and down when he spoke, the expression on his face never changed. He reminded me of Mortimer Snerd.
"I enjoy dancing with you, Laverne," he said. "May I call you sometime?"
"Don't take this personally, Dennis, but I'm not ready to date yet since my divorce."
"I'm very sorry. How long has it been?"
"Barely 21 years."
".........................................Oh, I understand. Will you call me when you're ready?"
Alan had the subtlety of a 42nd Street hooker. "I'd like to rub your thighs, your back and everything in between," was the charismatic way he phrased it. It was at that moment that I discovered my ability to fly.
Then there was Dick. I met him through an online dating site. We agreed to meet at a fairly central location for dinner. He was bright, financially sound and well traveled. As we sat in a quiet corner of an upscale restaurant, I restrained myself from braiding the hairs extending from his ears. He had attempted to camouflage the hump on his back and his pouchy stomach with a wildly printed Hawaiian shirt. His Shar pai wrinkles only showed when his face was relaxed, and barely at all when he smiled. I spent most of the evening telling him jokes. Other than those minor flaws and the fact that he was a total snob -- salmon had to be exactly the right texture and color -- not too dry, not too moist, and the silverware looked cheap and tinny, and his coffee wasn't the exact temperature he'd requested -- he wasn't too bad.
Our conversation became somewhat heated, when he described his rocky relationship with his grown children, which he proceeded to blame on his ex- wife. It seems he was a diehard golfer and during his marriage he made a point of playing golf every available moment. His wife never insisted that he stay home and spend time with his children when they were youngsters, so he blamed his poor relationship with the kids on her,
I was shocked. "You're telling me that because your wife didn't insist that you stay home and not play golf, it's her fault your kids don't like you today?"
"You're damn right," he said with conviction. "It was her responsibility to make me stay home."
"You don't bear any of the responsibility?"
"You're kidding, right?"
I'd had just about enough of Dick, whose last name should have been Head. I listened to him find fault with the tiramisu, his uncomfortable chair and the style of my shoes, and I counted the moments until I would be rid of him.
As we walked out of the restaurant toward our respective cars, he reached over and gave me a superficial kiss on the lips. I, in all my suaveness, attempted to wipe my fresh lipstick from his mouth, missed and wiped his teeth instead.
Despite my negative experiences, I continued my quest for an intelligent, humorous, sensitive (good looking) man, because, to be perfectly blunt, before I began my search for a man, my life consisted of luncheons with women, and I was now ready to trade in all of those breasts for dinner with one Adam's apple.
Sometimes it feels like the foundation of your social life is so strong that you no longer find the opportunity to meet new and exciting people. Throw a barbecue or party in which guests bring a friend that no one in the group knows. Alternatively, tag along with a friend the next time their office has a company picnic or function -- this is a great way to meet somebody who you know is responsible enough to hold down a career and who you can 'check out' with an acquainted friend before you agree to a date.
There's no longer a stigma about a woman learning to golf or a man taking a Pilates class, though such activities are still gender lopsided enough one way or the other to open up the dating options for the minority sex. In time you'll be able to go to a local public course and complete someone else's foursome, or cap off an exercise class by going for coffee with some of your fellow students -- both of which will give you the opportunity to meet a host of new people (most likely of the opposite sex). Just make sure you're doing something you want to do -- it would be a shame to begin a relationship under false pretenses.
Organizations such as "Habitat For Humanity" allow you to come into contact with people of all ages and from all walks of life, all of whom have strong, respectable values. And it's not just a great chance to meet a prospective date -- volunteering attracts interesting, good-natured people who themselves are excited to meet new faces and make friends.
Book clubs are great places to meet well-read, like-minded adults -- you can usually find one by calling your local library. Similarly, wine clubs, outdoors clubs and gardening clubs are good options as well depending on your interests. Joining a club allows you to grow as an individual and sets up the opportunity for you to meet someone who shares a common interest.
Singles over 50 are flocking to the online dating world more than any other demographic. It would be a shame to let 20th century prejudices about online dating spoil the opportunities that could await you with a membership. The perception that dating sites attract eccentrics or shut-ins is a dying one, but if you need convincing, just see for yourself the array of adults turning to sites like "Match" and "eHarmony" to help them begin meaningful relationships with interesting people. Here are the top five most popular dating sites for Post50s.
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